ron, May-04-2007

VC Friday with cream

Reliability is not distributed equally in this world. Some web-sites are edited by people with serious focus problems, reviews are on back-burners, procrastination records are breaking left and right, I mean … sheesh!
But one thing is always for certain: Friday mornings bring new Virtual Console games to the insatiable European Wii crowd. And here we go.

Alex Kidd In The Enchanted Castle

Alex Kidd is another one of those Sega "let's focus all our development time on designing a mascot!" franchises, but in this case with the unusual (and perhaps casual-friendly) element of a rock-paper-scissors mini-game instead of boss fights to the death. Having played it recently off a certain PS2 games collection, I can say with considerable confidence that you may safely ignore this basic platforming-and-punching experience. Sega never wanted you to play this, they just wanted you to find the character cute. So do that if you must and then quickly move on.

Shockman

Here we have a colorful hybrid between a side-scrolling shooter and an action platformer with guns (the play-styles alternate). Both of these portions are quite solid, if a little shallow, so the game might not be omgaaaaawesome but … okay. Yes. Super Probotector is by far the better action platformer (entirely different visual style though) and R-Type 3 is by far the better side-scrolling shooter (ditto), so there. But still okay.

Virtua Fighter 2

Just no.
Or actually there are two ways we can go about this:

  1. You are a huge Virtua Fighter fan and nothing I say will stop you from acquiring this (and VF5 for the PS3 no doubt).
  2. You are not, and I will tell you that you need at most one classic 2D fighting game. This one game is called Street Fighter 2, and it has been available on the Shop Channel for a while already. When you have that, you should direct your attention to the progress that has been made in the genre since then, and you might want to do so by trying out Soul Calibur 2 for Gamecube (which means it runs on your Wii), or Soul Calibur 3 for the PS2 if you have that. And thanks for asking.

Wonder Boy In Monster World

Unlike its automatically scrolling, jumping and axe-throwing roots, while In Monster World, Wonder Boy acts as the properly designed version of Alex Kidd. You roam a fantastic RPG world, upgrade your character and whack stuff over the head with swords. We have a soft spot for this genre (see Zelda 2, Dragon's Curse et al), and if it's executed so well we can not help but recommend.


We think we like this week. One of the three Sega games is not only substantial and colorful but good, and Shockman is pretty interesting, too. We'd say get Monster World, it'll keep you busy for long enough. Consider Shockman, skip the rest.
PS: Buy Chibi Robo. The first hour is going to be a cultural shock but after you break the initial resistance these are the funniest fifteen to eighteen hours of adventure and exploration you can waste away on your Wii right now. It helps that it's available everywhere for ridiculously cheap. The review is on the back-burner, but we can say right now that you can't die or otherwise permanently fail in this game, so you might find it "too easy" if you're like that. Otherwise it's much like Tomb Raider, but with actual story developments, surprises, interesting characters and lots of humor.

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